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MODEL 1878 CANTEEN WITH THE EARLY PATTERN ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL NARROW LEATHER CANTEEN STRAP – STENCIL MARKED TO THE 2ND REGIMENT – NICE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION:  An original Indian War period US Army issue Model 1878 Canteen complete with the early pattern, narrow leather shoulder strap manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal.   

In addition to the “US” on the front of the cover, it is also stenciled with the unit identification and inventory information: “K 2 88” – indicating the 2ND Regiment, Company K, item or soldier number 88.  With the early pattern strap, this canteen is in a configuration used by all three branches of the army during the early Indian Wars.  In the years the early narrow strap was used, the 2ND Cavalry was deployed in the Wyoming and Montana Territories, in the thick of the conflicts on the northern plains.  The 2ND Infantry was assigned during those same years in the Northwest, and in fact, K Company of the 2ND Infantry was involved in the battles of Big Creek, Idaho in the summer and fall of 1879 during the Bannock Indian War.  Certainly, both were very active regiments during the Indian Wars, and they were continuously in the “thick of it.”      

The canteen is complete with both of the triangular hangers that were attached as part of the modification process the arsenal used to convert the Civil War canteens to the Model 1878 Pattern.  The “US” stencil is clear and legible, and is of the desirable “large” pattern characters, indicating that this is one of the earlier stenciled covers.  The cover is solid and free from any holes or tears, and the seams are intact.  The body of the canteen holds it shape on the front and the rear surfaces with no dents or other damage.  The original cork stopper and brass chain are intact and full form.   

The narrow leather Model 1874 strap – introduced with the Model 1874 Equipment - is in very good condition.  The strap is full length with no weak points, complete with both brass hooks and leather keepers, and the leather is supple with only minor crazing on the surface. The strap still retains part of the “ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL” stamp, although it is faint as it is located where the strap was folded over one of the brass hooks.     

This is the canteen issued to a regular army Regiment active on the western frontier, with no National Guard or State Militia unit marks.  It is a very solid specimen which would be difficult to upgrade, with the added value features of having the scarce narrow sling and clear unit markings.  (0354)  $295 



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